The Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty: The End of the World, or the End of all Wars?

By Henry G.


On the first of July, 1968, the United Nations passed the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty, a treaty to limit the number of nuclear superpowers on the planet. The treaty was a groundbreaking advancement in the limiting of worldwide nuclear annihilation. The treaty limited the research and use of nuclear weapons to five nations–these nations being: The People’s Republic of China, the Russian Federation, the United States of America, the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland, and the French Republic. By limiting nuclear control to these five nations, the NPT limits the number of nuclear weapons in the world and ensures that no one nation gains too much power.

The treaty states that no nation besides the five stated may possess or research nuclear armament. The NPT does not allow nations to give other nations nuclear research or devices. The treaty, however, encourages nuclear power and other peaceful uses of nuclear research. Naturally, there are nations that break the treaty.

There are four nations that are disobeying the text of the treaty–these nations being: the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea, the Republic of India, the Islamic Republic of Pakistan, and the State of Israel. Although there are four nations disobeying the treaty, DPR Korea is the only one that is cared about by the United States. The reason for this is because DPR Korea is the only nation threatening the United States. Meanwhile, Israel is an ally of the United States, while Pakistan and India are considered a self-contained nuclear zone. A self contained nuclear zone is a group of nuclear nations that each only have one target: each-other.

The NPT relies on the concept of Mutually Assured Destruction or MAD for short. Giving nuclear weapons to these five opposing powers means that if any of these powers were to declare war on another it would result in the destruction of both nations. The five nuclear weapon states will therefore avoid direct confrontation with each-other so as to avoid the nuclear war to follow. This forces these nations to reach non-violent agreements on issues. The primary problem however, is what happens if one of the nations does start a war.

The only hope for survival of such a war would be if you live in Israel, or certain cities of strategic importance to the United States. Areas such as Silicon Valley have anti-nuclear missiles. These missiles are designed to intercept the nuclear warheads before they can reach the ground. Most other nations do not have systems such as these.

So that’s the basis of the NPT, the treaty to limit the spread of nuclear weapons. Weather the treaty makes you feel safer, or if it makes you afraid that five countries even get nukes, is something that varies from person to person.

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